Disclaimer

BEFORE YOU START: Please note that although I currently volunteer for both the Stroke Association and Age UK, the views expressed in this blog are strictly my own. I am not a spokesperson for either (or, indeed, for any) organisation, and I accept complete responsibility for the views expressed herein. I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any ambiguous terms, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Technology

I must admit I do quite like how I'm able to use technology. Not just stroke-related stuff, but more just to get my old life back.

My working background, before the career break and the stroke, was in IT. I worked in the City for 20-odd years, and before that had a spell in New York. So I was at quite a high level, as IT goes.

I'm now recovered enough from the stroke that I want to find a job. It's not only money, although earning several tens of thousands per year would be preferable to earning £100/week disability benefit. It's wanting to do something productive once again.

To that end, I've spent the last month or two sharpening my technical skills up to where they were in 2013 - at the top of my game. In many ways, it is largely about getting myself back into the discipline of sitting down and spending the day working, but I have been able to be quite productive too, picking up and using new technologies. Or, in fact, there is very little that is new, it's more just moved on a version or two.

Of course, a lot of the stuff I used to do in the enterprise can't be mimicked on my laptop, but, actually, a surprising amount can. For example, I can write code or develop databases. And, some web technologies have come along - or rather, matured to the point where they're usable - which I've been able to pick up. I mean, I have built web applications (as in "programmed", rather than "graphic designed", but the real advantage of the web is that it sidesteps deployment issues. If you can find another way to crack deployment, then putting an application on someone's desktop is far more powerful. And, by those standards, what I'm doing is noddy compared to what I used to do, but you have to do what you can.

On that note, by the way, I have redeveloped the family web site using some of the latest technologies. (It's only a few pages - I have done other stuff too!) One of these technologies is pushed by Microsoft (who you'll likely have heard of!) called ASP.NET MVC. ASP.NET is Microsoft's way of building web applications, which I have been familiar with for many years. MVC stands for Model-View-Controller, and is basically a specific way or organising your web site. I won't get bogged down in too much detail, but MVC has actually been around for 50-odd years as a way of developing applications, and there are lots of these (they're called patterns) out there, all of which are subtly different, but all of which aim to avoid your program becoming one big heap of spaghetti! But it is only really in the last 10 years or so that Microsoft has picked up MVC and built a framework which developers can use to build stuff. What they've done is not absolutely pure, but as long as you follow a few rules (for example, on what you call things), it can be very labour-saving and can help with organisation. As it happens, the way in which the web works fits in well with the MVC pattern, which is no doubt why Microsoft built around it.

To summarise, http://www.hurford.me.uk. It's only really a couple of pages, but I have a contact form on there where I've been able to use this MVC approach.

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